All bicycles are required to have at least one effective brake and a "bell, horn, or similar warning device, in working order" (RR.258; max. penalty: 5 pu).
The Road Rules state that the rider of a bicycle must not ride at night, or in hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility, unless the bicycle, or the rider, displays:
- a flashing or steady white light (arguably then, the blue lights which are becoming more popular as front lights offend this rule) that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the front of the bicycle; and
- a flashing or steady red light and reflector that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres from the rear of the bicycle; and
- a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicle's headlight on low-beam (RR.259; max. penalty: 5 pu).
RR.256 states that all riders and their passengers (including children in attached seats), "must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened" on their heads unless VicRoads has issued the rider with a certificate (max. penalty: 5 pu). Riders of scooters on roads or road related areas must also wear approved bicycle helmets (RR.244B)(1). "Approved bicycle helmet" means those approved by VicRoads and published in the Government Gazette (Dic.).
Under RR.256(4) or, in the case of scooters, RR.244B(2), VicRoads "may issue a certificate stating that it would be impractical, undesirable or inexpedient that the person named in the certificate wear a bicycle helmet while riding on, or being taken as a passenger on, a bicycle (scooter)". A person who has been issued such a certificate must have it in their possession when riding and produce it when demanded by an "authorised person" (person with written authorisation from VicRoads or the Department of Transport) or a police officer (RR.256(5)).
A paying passenger being carried on a three- or four-wheeled bicycle does not have to wear a helmet (RR.256(2)(a)).
Riders must "sit astride the rider's seat facing forwards (except if the bicycle is not built to be ridden astride), with at least one hand on the handlebars" and, if the bike is equipped with a seat, not ride the bike seated in any other position on the bike (RR.245; max. penalty: 3 pu). Like drivers, a cyclist is not permitted to use a hand-held mobile phone while riding (RR.300; max. penalty: 10 pu).
"The rider of a bicycle must not carry more persons on the bicycle than the bicycle is designed to carry." (This then makes the practice of "dinking" illegal.) (RR.246; max. penalty: 3 pu).
Cyclists are not permitted to ride within two metres of the rear of a moving motor vehicle continuously for more than 200 metres (RR.255; max. penalty: 3 pu). Riders are also not permitted "to cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver or pedestrian" (RR.253; max. penalty: 1 pu) or to be towed by another vehicle or hold onto a moving vehicle (RR.254; max. penalty: 5 pu).
Unless a rider is overtaking other riders, that person is not permitted to ride more than two abreast on a road (RR.151; max. penalty: 3 pu) and must keep within 1.5 metres of the other rider (max. penalty: 1 pu). In effect, this means you can ride two abreast on any road and up to four abreast when overtaking, if safe to do so.
A rider is permitted to overtake a motor vehicle on the left except where that vehicle is turning left and is giving a left change of direction signal (RR.141(2); max. penalty: 3 pu).
Riders are prohibited from riding "across a road, or a part of a road, on a children's crossing or pedestrian crossing" (RR.248(1); max. penalty: 3 pu). Riders must dismount and walk their bicycles across those crossings. Riders are permitted to ride across a road on a marked foot crossing but only if there is a green bicycle crossing light showing (RR.248(2); max. penalty: 3 pu; see also: RR.262).
RR.35 allows the rider of a bicycle to turn right at any intersection by executing a "hook turn" rather than crossing lanes of traffic. RR.35(3) sets out how this is done, and failing to carry out the turn as described in that Rule means the rider may be fined a maximum of 2 pu.
The relevant provisions of the RSA (i.e. Part 5) relating to drink driving refer to motor vehicles and, accordingly, do not apply to cyclists and as such demerit points are not an issue. However, there is still an archaic and very poorly drafted offence in the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) (s.16(b)) that imposes a maximum penalty of 10 pu or two months imprisonment if you are drunk in charge of a carriage (not including a motor vehicle) in a public place. "Carriage" is not defined but would likely include a bicycle.
A "footpath" is "an area open to the public that is designated for, or has as one of its main uses, use by pedestrians" (Dic.).
Riders of bicycles who are "12 years or older must not ride on a footpath" (RR.250(1); max. penalty: 3 pu) unless:
- they are over 18 and are accompanying and supervising a child under the age of 12 who is riding on the footpath; or
- they have a physical or intellectually disability and have a valid medical certificate to prove it (RR.250(1A)).
Persons riding on the footpath must ensure they keep to the left of the path, provided it is practicable to do so, and must give way to any pedestrians (RR.250(2); max. penalty: 3 pu).
On "separated footpaths" (areas with marked lanes for both riders and pedestrians: RR.239(4)) pedestrians and riders must keep to their designated lane (RR.239(1); max. penalty: 2 pu). Exceptions for pedestrians are:
- if the pedestrian is crossing the path - undue delay in crossing the path is not permitted (RR.239(1)); or
- if the pedestrian is on rollerblades, rollerskates or a similar "wheeled recreation device" (for example, a skateboard or scooter), or is in or pushing a wheelchair (RR.239(2)).
Riders using a "bicycle path" (a path signposted with bicycle path signs: RR.239(4)), footpath, separated footpath or shared path (areas designated for use by both riders and pedestrians (RR.242(2)) must, wherever practicable, keep to the left of any oncoming cyclists on the path (RR.251; max. penalty: 3 pu).
If there is a "bicycle lane" (see: RR.153(4)) on the road the cyclist must ride in that lane, "unless it is impracticable to do so" (RR.247; max. penalty: 3 pu). Motor vehicle drivers are not permitted to drive in the bicycle lane (RR.153(1); max. penalty: 5 pu) except for up to 50 metres if:
- about to stop or park (provided stopping or parking is not prohibited at that place) (RR.153(2));
- driving a bus or taxi and setting down or picking up passengers (RR.153(3));
- entering or leaving the road (RR.158(1)(a));
- entering a part of the road of one kind from a part of the road of another kind (e.g. moving to or from a service road) (RR.158(1)(b));
- overtaking a vehicle turning right or doing a U-turn (RR.158(1)(c));
- entering a marked lane or a line of traffic from the side of the road (RR.158(1)(d)); or
- stopping at a place in the lane (RR.158(3)).
It is also permitted for a motor vehicle driver to drive in a bicycle lane, for an unrestricted distance, to avoid an "obstruction" (RR.158(2)(a)).
A bicycle carrier is a device "attached to the rear of a motor vehicle to enable one or more bicycles to be carried by the vehicle, but does not include a trailer" (RR.400(1)). RR.405 states that "[a] person must not drive on a road a motor vehicle that has an empty bicycle carrier attached to the rear of the vehicle" (max. penalty: 3 pu).
Regulation 50 of the Road Safety (Vehicles) Regulations 2009 mandates all vehicles to display licence plates in accordance with those regulations (max. penalty: 2 pu). One requirement is that the licence plates must be clearly visible to a distance of 20 metres (RR.48(1)(d)). If the licence plate is obscured by a bicycle carrier, with or without bikes, the number plate may be securely affixed to the bicycle carrier (RR.48(3)), so that it is visible.
BICYCLE-SPECIFIC LAWS :: Last updated: Thu Jul 1st 2010